MORE than 50 Salterforth residents attended a special meeting to discuss their objections to plans for 51 homes to be built in the village.
Broughton Estates and Seddon Homes have submitted the application to build the mixture of three, four and five-bedroom houses on the site of the former Silentnight showroom.
Salterforth Parish Council called a meeting to give residents a chance to voice their concerns. Pendle Council principal planning officer Kathryn Hughes answered questions in relation to what had been proposed and the guidelines under which the council works when it makes its recommendations.
A number of issues were raised around parking, road safety and the possibility of a burial ground on the site.
Ms Hughes explained that with such an application for houses within the settlement boundary on a brownfield site, the presumption is always for approval. To refuse the application, valid reasons would have to be provided. She said if the application was refused, it would likely go to appeal and if it was then accepted, the council would have less control over possible conditions placed on the applicants.
The lack of parking in the village was raised many times as residents said the extra homes and associated traffic would only exacerbate a long-standing problem. Resident Peter King said: “This village was not designed around the motor car. If you spent five minutes with me I could show you how ridiculous parking is in Salterforth.”
Others spoke about the inclusion of a village car park with 20 spaces in the developers’ plans.
With less spaces than are currently available on the Silentnight site, which villagers have had the owner’s permission to use for the last 35 years, many said it would be a major blow for residents. However, Ms Hughes said there was no requirement for there to be a village car park and that if residents were frustrated with a lack of parking, they needed to raise it separately at a West Craven Committee meeting. She did add that the developers had been asked to consider parking as a major issue.
West Craven county councillor Keith Bailey spoke about the Silentnight car park saying: “It is my understanding that you only have the car park under the goodwill of Silentnight. If a factory was opened on the land, the car park would be full then anyway. They could put a barricade across tomorrow and you wouldn’t have anywhere to park. If the development has to come, 20 spaces is more than you have now. The car park should be an asset of the village and you should make sure you have ownership of it.”
Road safety was also discussed as an ongoing issue, with many residents calling for a crossing to be installed on Kelbrook Road.
Ms Hughes assured residents that Lancashire County Council’s Highways Department would make appropriate recommendations for the roads around the site.
An ongoing claim that there is an old burial ground on the site was repeated and the parish council asked resident John Blades to investigate the matter. Ms Hughes had said Lancashire County Council archaeology staff had no record of it but residents said as the land was formerly in Yorkshire, the records would more likely be held elsewhere, and possibly by the Tempest family at Broughton.
Ms Hughes also said that concerns around how well the houses would sell and the type of people buying them were irrelevant to planning permission being given. She said: “It is assumed that the developer has looked at market conditions. If the application was passed they would have a three-year period in which to start the development.”
Residents also spoke about their opposition to an access road to the development site from Earby Road, whether the sewage system would be able to cope with the extra houses, and what further development would be pursued as a second phase at the former mill building.
Attendees of the meeting were also in agreement that the number of houses being proposed was an overdevelopment in a village context and worried about its impact. Mr Blades said: “This really needs serious consideration. It is something that will affect this village for hundreds of years; forever. It wouldn’t be a village anymore.”
As the meeting closed, councillors urged those residents who hadn’t yet done so to write to Pendle Council with their objections.
The application is due to come before the West Craven Committee, though a date has not yet been fixed.